Requesting a Meeting on Capitol Hill

Meeting in Washington, DC

The best time to request a meeting with your federal legislators on Capitol Hill is about four weeks in advance of your desired meeting date. You can look up your legislators and their phone numbers using NLC's online advocacy tool

Call your legislators' offices to find out how to submit your meeting request. When you call, be sure to get the name of the office scheduler. Most offices will require that a request be submitted in writing, by email, fax, or online form. We have provided a sample letter for you to use. In your letter, clearly specify your name, your position as a local official, your hometown, and the issue you wish to discuss in your meeting. Be sure to also specify the specific blocks of time you have available - try to provide more than one.

If you want to meet with the legislator personally, rather than a member of staff, you can improve your chances by scheduling your meeting for a day when Congress is in session. Use schedules set by the House majority leader and Senate majority leader to help you choose a date. Even if you are scheduled to meet with your member of Congress, be prepared to meet with staff as well - legislators are often called away for votes on the House or Senate floor, or may be in committee meetings or other obligations that run late. The office scheduler will try to ensure that a member of staff who works on your issue is present for the meeting.

After you submit your request, keep an eye out for a response. After two weeks, follow up with the scheduler by email. If you have not confirmed an appointment within one week of your desired date, call the office and request to speak with the scheduler to confirm your meeting time. Your members of Congress have tightly packed schedules, but persistence and follow-up will pay off.

Meeting in a District Office

Many legislators' offices handle both Washington and in-district scheduling through the same system, but you should always call and confirm. Call the number of the district office you'd like to visit after you have looked it up using NLC's online advocacy tool. When you call, find out the procedure for submitting an in-district meeting request. That request may be handled by the Washington scheduler, or by a person in the district office who only handles schedules in that location.

You should try to schedule your meeting for a date when your legislator will be in the district, not in Washington. Unlike in Washington offices, most legislators do not have specialized policy staff in their district offices. It is more important to meet directly with your member of Congress in the district, as the staff there may be responsible for many things in addition to policy. Legislators may have multiple district offices, so flexibility in your requested date, time, and location for the meeting may help you secure a confirmed meeting.

After you submit your request, keep an eye out for a response. After two weeks, follow up with the scheduler by email. If you have not confirmed an appointment within one week of your desired date, call the office and request to speak with the scheduler to confirm your meeting time. Your members of Congress have tightly packed schedules, but persistence and follow-up will pay off.